Arthur: Confident Titans a test for us
Dyldam Parramatta Eels Head Coach Brad Arthur says the Blue and Gold will be looking to put on a strong performance in front of a Darwin crowd when they take on the Titans on Saturday night.
The Eels have posted two wins from two trips to the Territory capital with gritty victories over the Canberra Raiders and Penrith Panthers.
“I think the last two years the fans have been robbed of a high quality game,” Arthur said.
“Last year it was a little bit dour. The conditions are tough, the ball gets slippery and [with a] 5 o’clock kick off ball control’s going to be really important. [In this head] if you continually make errors and you have to do a lot of defence it will take its toll.”
With halfback Kieran Foran ruled out for the season after undergoing shoulder surgery, second-rower Kenny Edwards will step into the number 6 jersey to partner Corey Norman in the halves, and Arthur says he’ll be looking for Edwards to take on the line in his usual style.
“Kenny’s a natural footballer,” Arthur said.
“We don’t need for him to change the way he plays: he’s more of a running forward when he comes on for us off the bench and he can just play that similar role for us at five-eighth, and get the footy and carry the ball into the line.”
With police confirming on Thursday that they’ve commenced an investigation into the Parramatta Eels following a review of the NRL’s report into salary cap breaches, Arthur said the issue wasn’t a focus for his side.
“The good thing about it is we’re up here and we’re way from all the media speculation,” Arthur said.
“So I don’t know what happened yesterday and I’m not really interested either, unfortunately. It’s been a tough period for us over the first 10 weeks [of the season] but it’s good to get the boys away together.
“They’re getting to spend some time together and be better mates.”
“All they know is that’ve got a tough game and a tough opposition on Saturday night. [The Titans] have been finding ways to win over the last couple of weeks. It was a good tough performance from them on Sunday against South Sydney, and they’re coming here with a lot of confidence.”
The clash sees the Blue and Gold run out against former Eels hooker Nathan Peats, with new Titans centre Konrad Hurrell also a possibility to make his debut for his new club and give the Eels’ defence another challenge in defence.
“He’s big, he’s strong, he’s got a really good carry,” Arthur said of Hurrell.
“You need too make sure you’re committed to your defence, because if you’re not he’ll run over you.”
“Nathan’s a competitor; we know what we’re going to get from him,” Arthur added.
“He’s going to be fired up. He’s very busy in defence, and he’s real committed and he plays tough and I’m sure that he’ll be looking forward to getting out there.”
“He’s got plenty of credibility and runs on the board with the way he plays, he doesn’t have any point to prove.”
The Eels kick off against the Gold Coast Titans at 5pm on Saturday, June 11, at Darwin’s TIO Stadium.